Project Proposal : TCP/IP configuration and routing - George Mason ...

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Running Head: CLE Project Proposal









CLE Project Proposal

Mark Beattie

George Mason University

EDIT 732

Dr. Nada Dabbagh

April 9
th

2003






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Project Proposal: IP configuration and routing

This project will prototype a microworld that will simulate a c
omplex network
environment and allow students to experimant with hardware (Ethernet) connection
changes as well as Internet Protocol (IP) configuration to help them learn how IP
networks can be configured to allow for successful communication across real w
orld
network environments. This project will allow students to experiment with changes to
both the physical network configuration and the IP configuration and then test the effects
of these changes by using simulations of standard IP diagnostics tools.


Ta
rget Audience

Community college Information Systems Technology (IST) students who are
taking a network servicing course (IST 206). These students will already have knowledge
of the workings of IP but will have had little or no chance to work with or config
ure real
computer networks. While the students should be familiar with the computer hardware
involved, they usually do not fully understand how changes to the physical network
connections may require changes to the IP network configuration, this makes it d
ifficult
for them to understand the feedback they get from network problem solving tools such as
‘Ping’ and ‘Tracert’.


The Learning Problem

The students in this class constantly complain that it is hard to for them to
effectively learn network trouble sho
oting techniques, as they do not get a chance to


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experiment with the real world equipment. However, the range of equipment that would
make this possible is not usually available in most classroom environments.


Knowledge Area

This project will allow studen
ts to investigate and experiment with the following
aspects of IP configuration and how changes to network hardware affect these settings:



IP Address



Subnet Mask



Gateway Address



DNS server

Students can then investigate how the feedback they receive from th
e use of the standard
diagnostics tools ‘Ping’ and ‘Tracert’ will change in accordance with the network
hardware and IP configuration settings they have used.


Learning activities

The project will present students with iconic representations of the followi
ng
computer hardware:



Workstation Computers.



Multi
-
Homed Servers.



Ethernet Switches/Hubs.



Students will be able to choose how these should be connected together (or not)
via network cables. The network cable connections can be direct from network card to



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network card via a crossover cable, or they can be connected to a hub or switch via a
straight through cable. Students will be able to individually configure and connect each of
the cards in a multi
-
homed server, and they will also be able to enable or di
sable routing
between the cards in these same multi
-
homed servers.

Students will then be able to select an IP configuration to be bound to each
network card. This IP configuration will include an IP address, a subnet mask, a gateway
address and a Domain Na
me System (DNS) server address. Students will be able to
configure one special computer as a DNS server, and they will be able to specify the host
names listed on that DNS server.

After they have set the network hardware and IP configuration, students wil
l be
able to choose any computer they have configured and then view a simulated command
shell running on that computer. This command shell can be used to apply the following
network troubleshooting tools as if they were using that computer in a real world
network
environment:



Ping



Tracert


Students will receive feedback from each of these commands as if they were
doing this in the real world, and that feedback will reflect the hardware and IP
configuration setting that the student specified.




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Learning Ou
tcomes

1)

Students will build on their prior understanding of the relationship
between the way network hardware is connected together and the way
IP addresses should be configured to reflect these connections to allow
for successful communication between comp
uters.

2)

Students will understand how interpret feedback from the “ping”
command for basic IP configuration problems.

3)

Students will understand how interpret feedback from the “tracert”
command for more complex IP configuration problems that involve
routing.

4)

Students should be able to form hypotheses, test them and then reflect
of their findings.

5)

Students should be able to identify problems in real world IP networks.

6)

Students will be know the minimum configurational information they
need to input to make the n
etwork functional, depending on its
complexity.

7)

Students will understand how a DNS server can be used in the real
world to identify a computer by name.


Design Matrix.

The following table cross
-
references characteristics of the IP simulator with the
charac
teristics of microworlds as define by Dabbagh & Bannan
-
Ritland (under contract
-

in progress) and the learning outcomes of the IP simulation instruction.



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Characteristics of the IP network
simulator

Characteristics of
Microworlds

Learning
Outcomes

This pr
ogram will develop student’s skills
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4

Students can configure



All network hardware connections



IP address



Subnet Mask



Gateway addres
s



DNS server Address


& They can instantly check the effects of
the configuration they choose.

They allow a
hypothesis to be
tested.

2, 3, and 4

This program simulates real world network
problems. And allows the students to
diagnose these problems with th
e real
world troubleshooting tools:



Ping



Tracert



Ipconfig

They model parts or
features of the real
world.

1,2,3,5 and 7

In the real world this activity would time
consuming, as each change to the IP
configuration usually requires a rebooting
of the comput
er. And the network cables
can take time to safely be laid.

They compress time
and space to aid
speedy hypothesis
testing.

1 and 4

The program models the workings of IP as
defined by all major networking texts. The
program designer has a M.S. Degree in
In
formation Technology and 15 years
practical experience.

The model is
considered by experts
to accurately reflect
the real world.

5

Learners must already know the basics of
Ethernet networks and IP configuration
before using this tool.

They are aimed at
le
arners with specific
prior knowledge.

1

Students will start will simple single
broadcast domain systems and build up to
multi domain routed networks.

They support the
incremental
acquisition of
complex skills.

2 and 3

Students can configure



All network
hardware connections



IP address



Subnet Mask



Gateway address



DNS server Address

Learners can directly
control social or
environmental
parameters.


6

Students can look interpedently at the
Include both
1,2,3 and 4



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effects of hardware changes or changes to
IP configuration, or they
can do both
simultaneously.

deductive and
inductive reasoning.

The program will simulate the effect of
incorrect settings rather than simply telling
students that these setting are wrong.

Allow users to learn
form errors.

2 and 3

Students can experiment with wild and
crazy settings. They can even put in
incorrect settings they can learn about other
effects of routing and forwarding as they
investigate simpler concepts.

Encourage incidental
learning.

2 and 3

Learners will be prese
nted with complex
hardware and software configurational
problems that have multiple solutions and
the learners must critically analyze and
puzzle with these problems.

Promote hypothesis
testing and higher
order thinking.

4

Students will start will simple

single
broadcast domain systems and build up to
multi domain routed networks. When the
program opens the system will be
configured as a simple but operational
network that the learner can experiment
with or they can change this setup to form a
more advanc
ed network.

Provide a learning
path from known to
unknown.

1

The knowledge the students build will help
students correct any incorrect models or
assertions that they had about the way IP
networks worked. The graphical interface
will reflect real world com
puters, cables
and switches.

Provide simple ideas
that are visually
grounded in reality.

1

Product will give feedback based on the
setting the student inputs. Students will
also have the option of viewing the
decisions made by the programs artificial
inte
lligence as it determines the response
that students will received from their
simulated diagnostics commands.

Provide informative
feedback.

2 and 3



Assessment

Constructivist assessment should be incorporated within the learning environment
in such a way

that it furthers the goals of the learning environment. Any assessment that


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is built into a constructivist learning environment such as this microworld, will therefore
have to be authentic and active as well as be individual to each learner (Jonassen, 199
2.)

In this case, the assessment will make use of the microworld as a tool for
measuring the learning gained by individual students. At different points in their learning,
students will be given a saved file containing a problematic network configuration t
hat
can be loaded into the microworld. During a one
-
on
-
one interview with the instructor, the
student can use the microworld to investigate the problems with each network
configuration, and then verbally explain their solution to the instructor. As the
mic
roworld compresses the time needed to troubleshoot networks, it is anticipated that
these interviews should take no more than ten minutes or so per student.

It is anticipated that these interviews will take place at the points in the program
when the stud
ent indicates that they are ready to take the interviews. Each student will be
interviewed several times as they progress in their learning. Initially they will be asked to
troubleshoot only simple network problems, however, the problems will grow in
comp
lexity as the learner progress through his or her program of study.

This form of assessment can be considered to be authentic in that it is analogous
to the way network support staff work in the real world. Indeed, most usually network
engineers will creat
e diagrams that look very like the microworld screens this as part of
the diagnostic process when looking at real networking problems. This assessment will,
therefore, directly replicate the thought processes that are necessary for diagnosing
problems wit
h real network systems.



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References:

Dabbagh, N. & Bannan
-
Ritland, B. (under contract
-

in progress). Chapter 5: Pedagogical
models for online learning.
Online learning: Concepts, strategies, and
application
. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Education, Pre
ntice Hall.

Jonassen, D.H. (1992) Constructing Constructivism. In T. Duffy & D. Jonassen (Eds.)
Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction, A Conversation,
pp. 137
-
148.
Hillsdale, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates